Chapter Four

When the shot rang out, Worzel nearly filled his pants.

Worzel was doing my head in. He was a bludger, a thief and who knows what else. I avoided the fellow for a few days, half expecting him to turn up at my camp, but he didn’t. Then I started feeling a bit sorry for him, after all, he was living in the back of beyond with only himself for company (mind you, so was I!).On a slow possum day, I paid him a visit.

What I saw when I got to his camp was a bit of a shock, I hadn’t realised how squeamish I was. Might talk about it in another blog.

After sorting myself out, I endured another of Worzel’s cups of tea, and after the usual chit chat managed to get him back on the subject of Arty. I don’t know about you, but I was intrigued and wanted to know more. Worzel obliged and quickly had me spellbound as he continued his yarn (though, knowing Worzel, a grain or two of salt wouldn’t go amiss).

Arty

The thrill of the hunt had vanished, leaving Arty feeling like an orphan. He was gutted.

After his hunting trip to the Ruahine’s, he became very depressed. His family nearly had his firearms taken from him; that’s how worried they were.

For several weeks, all he did was work, drink, sleep it off, and head back to work again. After a while, he got bored with depression and hangovers and gave himself a bit of a hurry up.

He took up archery, and much to his families relief, Arty becoming his old cheerful self again. They were that pleased; they even endured his constant chatter about bows and arrows.

It was about six months before the novelty of archery wore off, and he was back to square one again. Arty had a unique problem; he was  such an excellent hunter he could probably hunt with a sharpened manuka stake and still get a deer.

He became depressed again, but having no real fondness for the bottle; he continued hunting with Worzel, even though he was only going through the motions.

Worzel and honesty are not on the best terms, and it was this flaw in his character that led to Arty’s addiction to poaching. It happened like this.

They were out doing a bit of spotlighting on a large sheep station an hour or so east of Masterton. It was a windy, moonless night; Worzel on the spotlight, and Arty the shooter. As far as Arty was concerned, they had the owner’s permission to be on the property, and everything was kosher. They’d shot two deer; he was bored and ready to call it a night.

It was Arty who spotted the head lights.

“Looks like the cocky’s coming up to say hello.”

“Wot!” squawked Worzel, dropping the spotlight”

The panic in his voice told Arty all he needed to know.

“You lying mongrel, you said we had permission!”

“No, I didn’t.”

For once, Worzel was telling the truth; he hadn’t said anything. Arty had just assumed they had it.

There was only one thing for it. Arty chucked his rifle on the back seat and floored it. They were on a greasy clay track, and  nearly came to grief couple of times as he tried to shake the irate cocky off.

The farmer was steadily gaining on them; Worzel was getting frantic.

“Can’t you make this heap go any faster? he’s almost up our tailpipe!”.

When the shot rang out, Worzel nearly filled his pants.

“Stop, they’re going to kill us.”

Arty was grinning like a Cheshire cat; the excitement was an old friend come home.

The next several minutes were a blur. Worzel thought he was about to meet his maker and was desperately inventing excuses for his less than virtuous life.

Arty, however, was having the time of his life, and when they finally escaped onto the main road, he felt a tad disappointed.

And that, as they say, was the beginning of the end for Arty.

But more on that in the next blog.

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